Nowadays, museums are lending some of their own collections to other museums, allowing more individuals to experience the broad assortment of material culture in which the said Museum has in its maintenance. Objects of all sorts, and of course all sizes and shapes are being viewed beyond the boundaries of the museum’s vicinity. Have you ever wondered how this might occur? How can a two-ton sculpture or some delicate piece of jewelry locate itself hauled from London halfway across the world?
Each month items from a particular museum depart from the museum display cabinets, traveling far and wide. Frequently the groundwork for these journeys start months or even years ahead of an exhibition’s launch. Whether the display is to be stored at a museum on the opposite side of London or around the opposite side of the earth, the logistics of supporting transporting delicate objects, regardless of the size, requires careful preparation. Before departing the British Museum, artifacts have to be evaluated by conservators to check whether they are secure enough to go through the traveling process, and, if they’re especially delicate the staff members need to choose what has to be carried out first so as to transfer them safely. A comprehensive photographic record is created of every item so that its state could be carefully tracked from London to its planned place. The photographers are also required to produce stunning, higher quality pictures of every item which is deployed to exemplify the display catalog and other promotion material promoting the display. The curators write or contribute to the corresponding text in the museum catalog, information panels, and item tags to help inform the individual stories of every artifact, placing them in the appropriate context of the display’s decor and design theme. The museum helper and the team that specializes in heavier items would build special mounts that are utilized to provide a support for the items while on screen, and they would also handle careful packaging tasks when needed which ensures every item reaches its destination safely. Adjacent to this activity, there is a good deal of communicating coming back and forth between the delivery agent, the debtor, and the British Museum because the museum team has to liaise with all partners like the interior stylist team so as to be sure the exhibition will run smoothly.
The process of organizing items for displays and transport is achieved by hand. Item mounts and packaging are feats of bespoke tailoring. No two items are alike, not even if they’re of the identical type. An ancient Greek vase may need to be repaired in different areas while another artifact might still look like it is new. When assembling mounts or packaging an object, the museum staff have to start with a clean sheet onto the drawing board constantly. Item mounts tend to be intricate marvels of precise model-engineering. The staff must also make sure that the proper type of heavy transport machinery like the as2550.1 are used when needed.
Transparent acrylic pieces are shaped and cut to size, then heated and sculpted into the proper form. The ideal mount is the bracket which best protects and supports the thing, displaying that thing in whatever way the display needs, whilst also staying as discreet as possible. Packing materials also need to properly fit the item. Nearly all types of the artifacts are packed with impact absorbent material like foam. The foam used in this scenario comes in many different types. The right density or grade has to be chosen; gentle enough to cushion the item, but firm enough to provide it support. The foam then has to be trimmed and wrapped around the item, preventing contact with fragile or protruding regions in which such close contact can lead to harm, yet satisfactorily bedding the thing in so it forms would not change during transport. The variables to be considered and also the processes employed are often as diverse and distinctive as the items themselves; inevitably it’s a time intensive and time-consuming project. Big and heavy sculptures are usually mounted on specially assembled modules for greater security during the transport process as well as for display purposes. The bigger items can be transported around with a crane and the ‘smaller’ ones with forklifts to ensure the process runs smoothly. Sometimes certain sorts of objects — such as delicate ivories — may demand particular conservation substances be included so as to keep constant environmental requirements whilst in transit, and, clearly, all objects are wrapped in protective sterile materials.
Once on the move, the created items are escorted in all stages of the travel by the museum staff. Whether by road, railroad, air, or sometimes from the sea, the museum couriers oversee the safe unloading and loading of every mode of transportation used. In case a long distance that has to be covered by the couriers, the transport may be a lengthy and arduous trip which needs an equivalent quantity of endurance and patience. Moving during the odd hours of the day or night in all weathers, crossing time zones, or, waiting through extended hours in airport freight sheds for customs paperwork to be processed is part and parcel of their couriers’ job.
Once arrived, the people involved all work together with our counterparts in the exhibition place, assessing the status of every item in forensic detail since it’s unpacked. After which they would set up the artifact within its individual exhibition showcase, attending to the last alterations of the screen, making sure that everything is secure and safe, prior to the exhibition opens to the general public.
Working together with the museum colleagues in different institutions is obviously a rewarding experience, empowering a close cooperation thereby sharing and expanding our own abilities and knowledge in all kinds of levels. Collectively we can acquire a better comprehension of material culture by making academic comparisons of our ranges side-by-side, but on a practical level, we could even find out and share our specialized understanding of different methods for the safest handling, display, and storage of these objects. Similarly, such collaborations are a method of strengthening foreign relationships on many levels. It’s a really positive endeavor.
A museum project with touring exhibitions enables us to participate in the past and find out more about the diversity of all civilizations. It’s a method for individuals to reflect on our planet, how it’s changed, and how it’s changing. It is all about the past and the future as viewed by the here and now.